Entering play 1-3-1 in their last five games, the Washington Capitals traveled to one of the least hospitable arenas in the league looking to get back on track, especially defensively. For much of the game, they were successful in that regard.
A taut, scoreless game went to overtime, where a defensive breakdown by two of the teams best-paid players cost the team a point, and the Caps fell to the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 on Saturday.
With just under two minutes remaining in the extra session, P.K. Subban found Tomas Plekanec wide open on the right wing during a line change. Brooks Orpik gave Plekanec wide berth down the wing, instead of challenging the forward to beat him one-on-one. Plekanec carried the puck to the goal line and backhanded a pass — barely challenged by Orpik — to the center of the ice, where Max Pacioretty had beaten Matt Niskanen to position in the slot.
Pacioretty flicked the re-direction over Braden Holtby’s left shoulder, who was playing more of the middle instead of guarding the post, ending the affair.
Both teams had their chances in regulation, but the goalies — and sometimes the goal posts — were equal to the task. Holtby made 30 saves, four on the power play and an incredible six while Montreal played shorthanded. On the other end, Carey Price made 36 saves, 11 of which came while the Canadiens were killing their six penalties. It was Price’s second consecutive shutout as he blanked the Rangers on Thursday 1-0.
The Caps (25-14-10-60) hit the post three separate times in the second period when they controlled play, outshooting Montreal 17-6, while Subban rang one off in the waning moments of regulation on a one-timer that cleanly beat Holtby. Just after, Holtby made a sick glove deflection from point-blank range to preserve the then-scoreless tie to force overtime.
The Caps have no time to dwell on this one, as they host the St. Louis Blues Sunday at 1:00 p.m.